Turkish Labor in the Global Era

Autonomous Unions and Transiently Unified Workers
  • Peride K. Blind


Effects of privatizations on Turkish labor unions and workers have been manifold. Each one of the three major labor confederations has taken a separate and distinct approach toward privatizations, thereby differentiating and redefining their respective identities and roles in the Turkish political system. Privatizations have also generated an increase in stateness, defined as the “capacity of the state to specify the terms of economic interaction, to extract resources, and to centralize administrative procedures and coercive means” (Schamis 2002, 192). While labor unions were relatively strong in the period of state-led economy in the pre-1980 period, their political power has dwindled along with and as result of the privatization of SOEs where union leaders exercised influence in decision making.


Civil Society Labor Union Political Ideology Civil Society Organization Union Leader 
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  1. 1.
    Parts of this chapter were taken from the unedited version of my article published in the Journal of Turkish Studies by Taylor and Francis. See Blind, Peride Kaleagasi. “A New Actor in Turkish Democratization: Labor Unions,” in Turkish Studies 8, 2 (Fall 2007): 289–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 17.
    Personal interview with Tugrul Kudatgobilik, the secretary-general of the Turkish Employers Confederation (Turkiye Isveren Sendikalari Konfederasyonu, TISK) and the secretary-general of the Turkish Metal Industrialists Union (Turkiye Metal Sanayicileri Sendikasi, MESS). Istanbul, August 2005.Google Scholar
  3. 18.
    Salih Kilic, secretary-general of TURK-IS, refers to employers as the “mother,” and unions, as the ‘father’ of workers (TISK 1995, 69).Google Scholar
  4. 27.
    Personal interview with Mustafa Oztaskin. secretary-general of the Union of Petroleum Workers (Petrol-Is) Istanbul, August 2005.Google Scholar

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© Peride K. Blind 2009

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  • Peride K. Blind

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